Similar to the aviation subforum, a thread to post documents in. Reply with your own contributions.
Advanced Cryogenic Expendible SSTO
Advanced Rocket Engines
Air Augmented Rocket Propulsion Concepts
Improved Saturn V Variants
History of Soviet Liquid Fueled Engines
The Space Shuttle as an Element in the National Space Program (published 1970)
Space Shuttle Range Safety Command Destruct System
Why Does the Space Shuttle Have Wings?: A Look at the Social Construction of Technology in Air and Space
Human Rated Delta IV
Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants
Soviet Space Program Handbook (1988)
Atlas V Users Guide
Current Evaluation of Tripropellant Concept
Assessments of Proposed Upgraded (STS, 1999)
Liquid Flyback Booster Configurations
Liquid Flyback Booster Study Assessment
Dual Liquid Flyback Booster for Space Shuttle
Apollo Lunar Module Propulsion Systems Overview
Lifting Manned Hypervelocity Reentry Vehicles
Saturn V Improvement Study
Missions to Mars and the Moons of Jupiter and Saturn Utilizing Nuclear Thermal Rockets with Indigenous Propellants
Nuclear Thermal Rockets Using Indigenous Martian Propellants
Nuclear Thermal Rocket/VehicIe Design Options for Future NASA Missions to the Moon and Mars
Nuclear Pulse Propulsion
Solid Core Nuclear Propulsion Concept
Development of Nuclear Rocket Engines in the USSR
Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Program
Rover Nuclear Engine Program Tests
Design of Antimatter Annihilation Rocket
Antiproton Powered Propulsion with Magnetically Confined Plasma Engines
Nuclear Pulse Space Vehicle Study
SOAR: Space Orbiting Advanced Fusion Power Reactor
Metal DUMBO Rocket Reactor
Fission Fragment Rocket Engine
The Political Feasibility of Nuclear Power in Space
Liquid Annular Reactor System (LARS)
On the Use of a Pulsed Nuclear Thermal Rocket for Interstellar Travel
Fission Fragment Rockets (1988)
Soviet Manned Lunar Program
Solar Rocket System Concept Analysis
Manned Mars Missions Using Electric Propulsion
Galactic and Solar Cosmic Ray Shielding
Issues in Radiation Protection: Galactic Cosmic Rays
Titan Submersible Proposal
Discovery of 1992 QB1 (first KBO)
Color Diversity Among Centaurs and KBOs
Manned Venus Flyby Proposal (1967)
Manned Eros Flyby (would have used Apollo derivative possibly)
Bussard Ramjet (simple)
Bussard Ramjet (more stuff)
Comparison of Phobos and Deimos as Exploration Targets
Scenarios for the Orbits of 2000 CR105 and 2003 VB12
A couple of spaceflight books
JIMO Materials Challenges
Aerocapture Analysis for a Neptune Mission
Aerogravity Assist at Triton
Neptune Orbiters Using Solar and Radioisotope Electric Propulsion
Magnetic Field of Mercury
Human Exploration of Mercury and Saturn
Project Mercury Report (1959)
Abort Options for Mars Missions
Manned Phobos Mission (Project APEX)
Manned Venus Orbiting Mission
High Altitude Venus Operations Concept
Crewed Mission to Callisto
Titan and Europa Mission Summary
Design of a Common Lunar Lander (1991)
Manned Lunar Habitats
Interstellar radio links enhanced by exploiting the Sun as a Gravitational Lens.
Origin and Orbital Distribution of Trans-Neptunian Scattered Disc
X-Ray Fluorescence from Inner Disc in Cygnus X-1
Evidence for a Distant Planet in the Outer Solar System
Evidence for Nemesis (from 1985)
THE USES OF ASTRONOMY AN ORATION
Rapid Mars Transits with Exhaust-Modulated Plasma Propulsion
Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Report
CO2/Metal Propellants for Mars Sample Return Missions
ISS EVA Radiation Protection Studies
The Mars Project (Von Braun, 1953)
That is not dead which can eternal lie: the aestivation hypothesis for resolving Fermi’s paradox
Nanotechnology and Space System Architecture
Apollo Guidance Computer Code List
Missiles (ICBMs and such, shorter range missiles live in the aviation forum)
Defense Against Ballistic Missiles
ICBM Basing Options
Soviet Theater Nuclear Forces: Implications for NATO Defense (1981)
Seize the High Ground: The Army in Space and Missile Defense
Soviet Concepts of Ballistic Missile Defense
ABM R&D at Bell Labs
Ballistic Missile Defense Report
A4 User Manual (in German)
The SS-8 Controversy
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design
A Linear Accelerator in Space
Astronomical Engineering: A Strategy for Modifying Planetary Orbits
Boris Chertok Memoir Link to English Translation
The Problem of Space Travel 1928 by Slovenian Engineer Herman Potočnik
Rockets and People, by Boris Chertok
First, there was the Antares rocket explosion, and now SpaceShipTwo has crashed, killing 1 pilot.
It seems the craft exploded after lighting the engine. Test flights are always a risk. Growing up as the brat of a test pilot, this has always been on my mind during these sorts of things.
Post more details here as they become available.
The Soviets did a lot of good things with their space program. The R-7 was the first and still is one of the best satellite launchers, the Venera probes were cool and got us a lot of data, the RD-180 gets high performance through weird metallurgic sorcery, etc. Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff they did was also crap. Stuff like the N-1 comes immediately to mind, but there were others.
Let's take a look at Vostok, the first manned spacecraft. It is commonly compared to the American Mercury spacecraft. Both had similar purposes; to get a man into space, keep him there for a short time, and return him safely. It did this well. However, Vostok was a bit primitive compared to Merucry;
In my opinion, this made Vostok less useful than Mercury for getting astronauts experience with maneuvering a spacecraft in zero-g, and building knowledge needed for more complex missions.
Also, the Vostok's spherical shape meant that all reentries were purely ballistic, which subjected the cosmonauts to higher g-loads than their American counterparts.
Still, on the whole, Vostok did its job. It's probably not fair to call it bad.
Voshkod, on the other hand. Holy shit, motherfucking Voshkod.
People often compare Voshkod to Gemini. Those people are wrong. Gemini was a completely new design, incorporating many advanced features. Voshkod was simply a Vostok with three people crammed inside of it. The cosmonauts were unable to wear spacesuits, leaving them no options in the event of atmosphere loss. There were no ejection seats or launch abort system (Gemini and Vostok had ejection seats) meaning that a failure of the launch vehicle would have been fatal. The capsule was poorly designed also, with the instruments being difficult to read.
The American Gemini program of about the same time made many pioneering advances in spaceflight. Docking tests were conducted, at first with unmanned targets (Agena), and later with other capsules. Flights at high altitudes beyond low earth orbit were also done. In contrast, Voshkod flights did little to advance human knowledge of spaceflight (aside from Leonov's spacewalk). The best thing that can be said about Voshkod is that it didn't kill anyone, which is more due to luck than good design. The Soviet space program would not accomplish the goals that the Gemini program did until later in the 1960s with Soyuz. By this time the Americans were almost at the moon.
In 2015, the Soyuz capsule has evolved to be an excellent and reliable space transportation system. However, it was not always this way. Let us look at Soyuz 1.
Multiple unmanned tests flights of the Soyuz capsule experienced failures and showed unreliability in the system. http://www.astronautix.com/flights/soyuz1.htmDespite this, Vladimir Komarov launched in Soyuz 1 on April 23 1967. Immediately, he experienced numerous issues. Stuck solar panels, failed maneuvering systems, and other problems meant that the flight had to be terminated after only a day in space. Reentry was mostly successful; however, the main parachute sadly failed, and Komarov was killed on landing. Not only did the failure of Soyuz 1 cause the senseless death of a cosmonaut, but it also set the Soyuz program back by over a year. Had the Soviets waited a few more months to debug the capsule before launching it, it is possible that this could have been avoided.